Bread

I had many frustrating bread-making sessions before I consistently got “good” bread.  It’s so much trial and error.  Everyone told me it just takes practice, but I wanted instant success.  I’ve been making bread for our family now for 4 years and feel like I have learned a lot of “secrets” for better bread.

Lecithin Granules

Many people swear by vital wheat gluten.  I never found it to help my bread at all.  I mean, absolutely NO difference.  But, so many people have, that it must just depend on the recipe or kitchen environment.  I found that lecithin granules made a big difference in the texture, but only have used it for a few months.  The bread is fine without it, but FANTASTIC with it.  Here’s the recipe we almost always use around here….with notes to help.

2 cups warm water
2 cups flour (fresh-ground hard white wheat is my favorite!)
1 1/2 TBSP yeast

Water should be about 120* -- This is TOO HOT!!!

Much better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

First ingredients mixed together

 

 

 

If you use a metal bowl, rinse with hot water so the bowl is nice and warm. Mix ingredients in bowl and cover with a towel. Let sit for 15-30 minutes. At the end of that time, it should be bubbly.

Add:

1/4 cup butter or oil
1/3 cup honey, molasses or a mix of honey and molasses
1/2 TBSP (1 1/2 tsp.) salt
optional, 1 TBSP lecithin granules OR if you want, whatever amount of vital wheat gluten your sources recommend
2 more cups of flour

All the other ingredients ready to go

My "Cooks" mixer from JCPenney - I apologize to it weekly for not believing it would last a year (it's now 4 years old).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mix well. Now, you need to add up to 2 (possibly even a bit more, but I never use more than 2 extra cups) cups of flour until it’s kneadable. Knead for 10 minutes in a kitchen aid or Cooks heavy-duty mixer (approx. 15-20 minutes if hand kneading).  A big mistake is adding too much flour.  If using a mixer, it can be stickier than if you hand-knead.  If the dough slides/falls off the hook when you lift it out, it probably needs more flour.  If it sloooowwwwly begins to slide, it’s probably ok.  Use oil on your hands when handling it to keep it from sticking.

Obviously, too wet.

It's pretty much staying wrapped around the dough hook, but is still very elastic and soft. If left for a while, it will gradually slide off the hook and into the bowl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Put in oiled bowl in a warm place and let rise for 30-45 minutes.

Nice little ball of dough

This is after 45 minutes today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remove from bowl and divide into two equal pieces. Form into loaves or rolls.  Or, for cinnamon bread, press out the dough flat, drizzle with honey and cinnamon, and then roll (tightly…. it’s easy to get air pockets!) into a log and tuck ends under.

Honey and cinnamon

Roll tightly to eliminate air pockets (I still get air pockets!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I set my oven on "warm" for about 5 minutes, turn it off, THEN place the dough in the oven to rise. I've forgotten to turn it off and the habit of turning it off before putting the dough in has saved many a batch of bread!

Always cover the with a cloth to keep the dough from drying out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let rise in oven for ONLY 30 minutes (you don’t want them to over-rise…. they will fall!).

Looking good!

Another best friend in the kitchen is my thermometer. I know the bread is done when the thermometer shows 170*. This ensures bread is done in the middle while still keeping the outside as light as possible.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then take towel off and (don’t take the bread out while the oven preheats), turn the oven on 350* and set timer for 25 minutes. Check at 25 minutes and see if they look ready. May need 5 minutes more.

Brush with oil or butter for a softer top crust

Mmmmm.....

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let sit in pan on cooling rack for about 5 minutes, then remove from pans and let cool. If desired, brush with butter or oil.

Allow to cool (if you can) before slicing.  We can never wait that long, so our first loaf gets a bit mushed from cutting it too soon!

Sliced while still hot - use a very sharp serrated knife for best results.

None of us can resist fresh-out-of-the-oven bread!

Enjoy!

 

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About micandme

Homeschool mommy to three munchkins, ages 9, 7, and 5. Christ-follower, nurse, wife, knitter, spinner, crafter, camper, hiker, people-pleaser, homesteader-wanna-be!
This entry was posted in Homesteading, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Bread

  1. Dawn says:

    Thank you for this tutorial! I’m still tweaking my recipe, and may have to try your suggestions out the next time.

  2. micandme says:

    Dawn, this is the recipe you gave me a few years ago, with my little tweakings added! 🙂 Isn’t that cool? It’s still my favorite. You saved my breadmaking attempts when you sent me this recipe. ~Michelle

  3. Cary Ann says:

    I will have to try that out. I usually cheat and use a bread machine to make my bread :0 But…have been trying to learn to make my on dough by hand lately. You are right, it does take alot of practice. Where do you get the lecithin granules at? Thanks for sharing your recipe. Hope you have a freat day 🙂

    • micandme says:

      You can use your bread machine to make this. Just cut everything in half, as this recipe is for 2 loaves. I got my lecithin granules at a bulk food store. You can order it online of course, but if you can find a store, it would be cheaper. Let me know how it turns out! 🙂

  4. Pingback: Bread Tutorial Finished! | At Home in Georgia

  5. Dawn says:

    It turned out beautifully! I have trouble with mine looking gorgeous going into the oven, and a bit saggy when they come out. May have to cave and buy lecithin…..

    • micandme says:

      Dawn, it might be air pockets that are doing that. I don’t roll out the dough for regular bread anymore because I was getting air pockets. I knead it a few times and then just kind of squeeze it into a loaf shape.

      Also if they start to sag as they cool (once they’re out of the pans), I lay them on their side. It’s like the bottom of the loaf can’t support the top when it’s still warm.

      You can see that my cinnamon loaves are a little saggy and uneven. Sure enough, when I cut the one loaf, there was a bit of a pocket in there. Oh, well….I keep practicing….

  6. cary Ann says:

    Yum! That looks delicious! I was wondering why everytime I try to slice my bread up it would get all smushy and impossible to cut, now I know it’s because I didn’t let it sit. I looked up a bulk food store near my area but the nearest one was 5 hours away 😦 Could I still use this recipe with just regular bread flour and not the lechitan? I like that mixer. I have never seen one with a lid on it like that. Thank yo for the tutorial. You did a great job! Hope you have a wonderful day today.

    • micandme says:

      I’m sorry, Cary Ann! I missed this comment somehow. I made this recipe without the lecithin for years. It’s fine. It’s just lighter and fluffier with it. Don’t let that stop you from making bread! 🙂

  7. What a great post! We have been giving the idea of making our own breads some very serious consideration. We have found a place to get fresh ground wheat. That was my biggest hurdle. Now, with this tutorial, I feel like it is something that is really DOABLE! Yay! Going to be sharing this on my blog’s FB page, as well.

    • micandme says:

      YES! It’s doable! And after you make it a few times, you can figure out how to fit it in around your routine so that you hardly even disrupt your day. Each step just takes a few minutes… most of the time is spent waiting. 🙂

      Thank you for sharing my post, too… I feel honored!!

      ~Michelle

  8. Keri says:

    Thank you! I’m ready to give it a try again. I’m thinking your tips will really help!!

  9. Pingback: Laura Threatened Me About This! | Yes, They Are All Mine

  10. Laura says:

    These directions are great!

    I like using an electric knife to slice bread with, works even if the loaf is still hot. 🙂

  11. micandme says:

    Reblogged this on The Corner Homestead and commented:

    This is a post from my family blog from about a year ago. I wanted to post it here for my farmer’s market friends.

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